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This week in civics: Travel to STEM wonderland, grow your own food, take a walk

Illustration by Camille Cohen

STEM Saturday: A Science & Technology Festival

Potrero Hill Neighborhood House, 953 De Haro St.
Saturday, July 16, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. | Free

This weekend marks the 2nd Annual STEM Saturday Science and Technology Festival hosted by Potrero Hill Neighborhood House. The event will feature 20 different science and technology hands-on exhibits (double the amount of last year’s festival) and will unite neighbors from local parks and wildlife rescue groups to heavyweights in the tech industry, said Jessica Holmes, event producer for STEM Saturdays. 

“It’s almost like a kid STEM wonderland. You just walk in, and there are balloons, and there are Legos, and there are art projects, and there are animals, and it is just a delight,” said Holmes. 

Courtesy of Potrero Hill Neighborhood House

Prior to the organization’s role as a host of creative programming, Potrero Hill Neighborhood House established one basic goal more than a century ago: helping neighbors in need. After the 1906 earthquake left most of San Francisco in ruins, the house opened its doors to residents, providing services to those grieving lost homes, jobs and loved ones.

Today, the organization still carries out its mission (with more program offerings) in the same building on De Haro St., designated a historical landmark by the city in 1977. Known to many as “The Nabe,” this wood-shingled house with orange window frames continues to welcome the community with services from juvenile detention counseling to adult Tai Chi classes.

Courtesy of Potrero Hill Neighborhood House

When asked why she thought exhibitors, sponsors and attendees were so eager to return this year, Holmes said, “We are all from different neighborhoods and different backgrounds, but we all come together because we love this place.”

At the festival this weekend, attendees can expect to see delighted children running from booth to booth, getting their hands on every experiment in sight. Food and drink will be available for purchase all afternoon, which can be enjoyed while listening to the festival’s mentors explaining real-world STEM applications.

“We believe in coming together and building something meaningful, and investing in the future generations, which are our youth, and inspiring them to have careers in STEM which are available right in your backyard.”

— Charlotte Ehrlich

Courtesy of Koni Benson

Cape Town Comes to San Francisco with Crossroads: I Live Where I Like

The Green Arcade, 1680 Market St.
Wednesday, July 13, 6:30 – 8 p.m.
| Free

Hosted by The Green Arcade, a haven for books on everything from social justice to cooking, author Koni Benson will travel halfway across the world from Cape Town, South Africa to discuss her new, nonfiction graphic novel with San Francisco book lovers. Crossroads follows the story of several women who established the only informal settlement to resist apartheid destruction in Cape Town. Their movement for greater access to land, housing, water, education and safety—shown through political cartoons—began in the ‘70s and continues today. (CE)

Mary Ziegler: How the Anti-Abortion Movement Remade America

Wednesday, July 13, 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
| $0-$35

In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, people across the country are not only devastated but scratching their heads as to what led to this moment. Mary Ziegler, a UC Davis law professor and one of the foremost experts on the political battle over reproductive rights, speaks with the Commonwealth Club about her new book, Dollars for Life: the Anti-Abortion Movement and the Fall of the Republican Establishment, which explores how the anti-abortion movement reshaped the Republican Party and the intersection of right-to-life politics, political spending and the drift to ideological extremism. (GL)

Learn How To Secure a Fair Appraisal

Tuesday, July 12, 12 – 1 p.m.
| Free

Exterior of the “pink” painted lady house, which is up for sale, in Alamo Square, San Francisco, Calif. on May 27, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

Understanding the worth of your home and assets is incredibly important in building a secure life. The process of appraisals can be confusing and tedious, so The Office of the Assessor-Recorder’s Racial Equity Group is doing a virtual presentation that will focus on uplifting communities of color to eliminate “the racial and ethnic discrimination in the appraisal of home values.” The office is aiming to shed light on the issue of appraisal discrimination and give people the tools to secure a fair appraisal or reappraisal. (XL)

McLaren Park Trails Advocacy Walkthrough

John McLaren Park, 217 John F. Shelley Dr.
Thursday, July 14, 8:30 – 10 a.m.
| Free

Civic engagement is a great way to voice your opinion, meet new neighbors, and, in this case, get some exercise. Work continues on the McLaren Park Trails Improvement Project and SF Parks & Rec wants to show residents firsthand their plans for multi-use trail improvements around the park. Attendees will meet at the upper reservoir parking lot to walk through the trails. The walk will take around 90 minutes and will last about 2.5 miles, including challenging terrain, so come prepared with a water bottle and comfortable footwear. (CE)

On-Bike Practice For Beginning Adult Cyclists 

Monroe Elementary School, 260 Madrid St.
Thursday, July 14, 4 – 7 p.m. | Free

Several bikers ride through the intersection of Transverse and John F. Kennedy drives in Golden Gate Park, San Francisco on Sunday, Dec. 19, 2021. | Ekevara Kitpowsong for The Standard

San Francisco is currently on a roll with car-free zones. We have JFK Drive, the Great Highway on weekends, a plethora of Slow Streets and protected bike lanes strewn throughout neighborhoods. If you want to get more comfortable on two wheels, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition is here to help. Before you hit the road, this class will teach you everything you need to know about balancing, pedaling, turning and shifting gears. The class will be held on bikes, and the majority of the time will be spent off-street, in a car-free zone. At the end of the class, there will be an optional short on-street ride. Please bring your own bike and helmet if you have them. Otherwise, bikes and helmets will be available for use during the class (for free). (MM)

Storytime: For Families Bilingual in Español/English

San Francisco Public Library, Main Branch, 100 Larkin St.
Friday, July 15, 2:00 – 2:30 p.m.
| Free

The Children’s Center within the San Francisco Public Library will host its last bilingual story time until August. This event is open for children of all ages to enjoy songs, rhymes, books and stories. The event will be held in the Children’s Storytelling room on the second floor and allows children to hear stories in Spanish and English. This story time will come back in August on a new day, so keep an eye out for any updates. (YM)

Grow Your Own Food in July 

Garden for the Environment, 1590 7th Ave.
Saturday, July 16, 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
| $25-50

Courtesy of Garden for the Environment

Garden for the Environment—a hands-on organization that aims to teach people sustainable gardening techniques—is hosting their Grow Your Own Food workshop, which will teach you how to grow fresh fruits and vegetables in San Francisco’s unique climate. For the July workshop, expert horticulturist and long-time gardening instructor Carey Craddock will teach you about managing summer pests, planning for a winter garden and year-round gardening. Join Craddock and learn how to practice sustainable and bountiful gardening, with a full tour of the organization’s garden. (LM)

July Bird Walk

Candlestick Point State Recreation Area, 1150 Carroll Ave.
Saturday, July 16, 9:00 – 11:00 a.m. | Free

Barbara Heroux and Bill Neely, amateur bird watchers who walk the park most every day, enjoy the sun at Heron’s Head Park on Feb. 7, 2022. | Camille Cohen/The Standard

Tired of only seeing pigeons when you’re in the city? The Candlestick Point State Recreation Area in Bayview Hunters-Point will be hosting its first monthly guided Bird Walk on Saturday. Birders claim that the Candlestick SRA is a hidden gem for birds like shorebirds, waterfowl, raptors and other migratory birds. Bring some comfy shoes, a water bottle and some binoculars to get the best view of the birds. There is limited onsite parking at the Candlestick Point SRA. However, street parking will be available. (YM)

AIDS Walk 2022

Golden Gate Park
Sunday, July 17, 10:00 a.m. | Free

AIDS Walk in San Francisco started 35 years ago in Golden Gate Park with 3,400 attendees. It has become a widely known walk that may even be going bi-coastal in the near future. Get your friends together, create a team and come with your trendiest walking shoes—Hoka’s have been popular amongst Gen Z and TikTok and maybe they’re onto something. This Sunday, you can also volunteer or donate to be a part of the fight against AIDS. As of Friday, $549,849 in funds had been raised. The money will be distributed amongst various organizations including, Huckleberry Youth Programs, WARD 86 pop-up and the UCSF 360 Wellness Center. In previous years, there have been appearances made by former mayors Nancy Pelosi, Gavin Newsom and contestants on RuPaul’s Drag Race, so you never know who you may run (or walk) into. (YM)

Charlotte Ehrlich, Yeily Mendez, Ximena Loeza, Garrett Leahy, Lisa Moreno and Meaghan Mitchell contributed additional reporting for this story.

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